Paddling Pool Update

As regular users of the park will know, volunteers from the Friends of Agnes Riley Gardens have, for the last two years, made the paddling pool in the park available during the summer months.  And we know that it has been much appreciated.

Because of the ongoing Covid-19 situation, the Friends have, with great regret, decided that we will not be opening the pool in 2020.  We think that the paddling pool is just too small to provide adequate distancing between children from different households/bubbles and difficult to enforce in any case.   We also have to think of the safety of our volunteers who would have to attend the pool at least twice daily.  Our decision not to open is in line with the other two non-Council run pools in the Borough – those at Streatham Common and Ruskin Park.

We sincerely hope that these virus-related constraints will have reduced by the summer of 2021 and that we will be able to open again.  We will be spending our time between now and then trying to get some repairs done to the pool. If you are interested in volunteering for the pool next year (training provided) or otherwise getting involved in the Friends’ activities, please email

The paddling pool at Clapham Common (near The Pavement) is open from the beginning of August but you should note that it closes on Mondays and Tuesday for cleaning.



History of Agnes Riley Gardens

Agnes Riley Gardens were formerly the grounds of Oakfield House owned by Frederick George Riley. In 1931 Mr Riley offered his property to the London County Council as a gift on condition that the 0.81 hectares of garden were made into a public open space and named Agnes Riley Memorial Garden. At that time the LCC was redeveloping this area, which contained a number of large houses. Mr Riley lived in the house until his death but in 1937 transferred the garden to the LCC. Its layout as a public park began in 1938 but was interrupted by WWII when the site was used partly for allotments and partly for military purposes, although a temporary playground existed. Mr Riley died in 1942 and in 1954 the whole site including that of the house, which was demolished, was laid out as a park. In the south was a children’s playground, paddling pool and games courts with the rest landscaped with trees, shrubs, lawns and an ornamental pond that remains an importanta feature. In 1952 the word ‘Memorial’ was dropped from the name.